A Data Analyst’s Paradise – CricHeroes

Over rates and strike rates, bowling averages and fielding extras, runs scored during the power play overs and runs conceded at the death, runs scored against left-hand seamers vs number of dismissals when batting against spinners.

A plethora of data points which, on their own, to the uninformed may seem meaningless. How do you connect the dots?

Cricket has become a highly measured sport with data-driven decision making becoming the cornerstone of high performing coaching and playing units.
In my quest to begin collecting, analysing and storing data on players and teams in Nigeria, I stumbled on CricHeroes, a tool that combines technology with extensive knowledge of our noble game to not only digitize scoring cricket matches and
broadcasting these games live but also help cricket data analysts, coaches and fans and even the players themselves make sense of the numbers that are being churned out on
the field.


Our team at TheMiddleStump interviewed Meet Shah, one of the Founders of CricHeroes to find out more about the trailblazing company


TMS: Who is Meet Shah?


Shah: Passionate & Professional Active Cricketer. Co-Founder of CricHeroes. I have spent 15+ years playing professional Cricket from school level to the club, district, university and state level. The journey from being a grassroots cricketer to professional cricketer was fantastic and which helped me to understand the problems which players, clubs and
associations, academies, and other ecosystem holders usually face in this process.
With CricHeroes, I am on a mission to capture players’ journeys digitally, make them become better Cricketers and give them recognition for their achievements and for businesses around Cricket, I want to provide them with a platform to utilize this audience to grow their business with
us.
These days, I spend most of my time:

  • Making new partnerships with Cricket associations globally.
  • Building strong relationships with our existing partner associations
  • Educating and training association scorers, admins, coaches and Data analysts globally.
  • Team building.

TMS: What inspired the decision build of CricHeroes?

Shah: India is a cricket-crazy nation and Cricket is the sport with the second-largest following after Football. Every day thousands of cricket matches are played by local amateur cricketers in India and all around the world. They are played just for fun, for passing time, as a ritual or for making a career, but one thing is common – they are all played passionately.
The problem was, most of the non-BCCI and ICC affiliated association matches all around the world were still recorded on paper. As a result of this, large amounts of data is lost every single day and thus unrecognised talent at amateur cricket level. We saw an immense opportunity to
create a digital platform to replace paper-based processes here.
CricHeroes wants to capture and build a platform for the millions of amateur cricketers all around the world to showcase their talent, get recognition and become better cricketers.


TMS: Was the data analysis module of the app something you had in mind from the very
start?

Shah: Honestly, no.

We just started with a focus on building a simple and easy to access, scoring system, which is the heart of the CricHeroes.


TMS: Dedicated Data Analysts are becoming a very important part of cricket coaching setups. In your opinion, what skills and abilities must a cricket data analyst have?


Shah: Yes, it is very important in the modern cricket coaching set-up. Prior to the use of data analytics in cricket, the coaches and players used to review their gameplay by watching the footage of their performance, again and again, looking out for mistakes or scope of improvement. With this technology, the calculations which the players used to do with their minds can be done easily and quickly.
Key things a Data Analyst should be able to do.
1) Find out the strengths and weaknesses of players.
2) Should be able to develop plans for their opposing teams and players to win games (eg. What are the weaknesses of their key batsmen? How do we use that to get them out early)
3) Should be able to study the history of grounds to develop and analyse pre-match plans like what his/her team needs to do after winning the toss and what type of bowlers are taking more wickets on this ground (eg. Spin vs Pace) to help the coach to choose the right team balance for their match.
4) Should be able to do post-match analysis to understand what went wrong & what went right in the last match and prepare next match plans/team practise sessions accordingly.

5) Should be able to compare similar category players (Eg. Compare top 5 opening batsmen of the country) and help selectors and coaches to find the best opening pair for their next national leagues.


TMS: How much has the data analyst role evolved with the introduction of technology?


Shah: It has evolved a lot and if you have noticed, most of the Test-playing countries have their own data analyst travelling along with the team everywhere. They have their own sets of responsibilities which are very important to team plans and strategy. They study and present the opposition team’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, they help coaches during the match. If something is not working according to the plan, then what is the next best alternative. (Eg. X Team planned to get Y Batsman out against Right Arm Leg Spinner with planned Fielding positions, and it is not working anymore, so what’s the alternative to get him out or to stop him scoring runs during the match)


TMS: What is the relationship between coaching and data analysis?


Shah: It happens to be one of the most important relationships in an organization that is focused on using data to improve team and players’ performance and take their game to the next level.
Coaches can ask a data analyst for such data points which he/she wants to check for each player/team and the Analyst should be able to understand exactly what the coach is asking for.
Similarly, a data analyst also comes with his own analysis and provides such reports to coaches to build better teams/players strengths.


TMS: Many developing countries are yet to jump on the bandwagon of data-driven decisions in their cricket. How will Cricheroes help them?


Shah: We have designed a very simple and accurate Data analysis module – CricInsights which is easily accessible as well. Developing countries just need to start scoring their official domestic leagues on CricHeroes and the data will automatically start building up. To start with, CricHeroes can simply educate their coaches and selectors how to use CricInsights to improve players, teams and select right team combinations. I am sure it will immediately start giving results to them if the analysis has been utilized properly. Many associations have already started using CricInsights and started getting results as well.


TMS: By democratizing data access, players can now see their own numbers and use it
to improve their game. Have you seen this happen a lot?


Shah: Yes, we are getting a lot of reviews from players directly where they mentioned how CricInsights is helping them to become better cricketers. Self-learning is also one of the very important chapters in the modern era because of a lot of competition. This way, players are getting enough data to study their own strengths & weaknesses easily through their mobilephones and improve their game accordingly. They are not dependent on anyone which is a big plus.


TMS: Can the App be used also for Video Analysis?


Shah: Yes, one can live stream videos through CricHeroes app which will be permanently stored with a specific match scorecard.
Reference (Click on Watch Recording after opening the below link) https://cricheroes.in/scorecard/645963/CAB-INTER-SCHOOL-UNDER-15-TOURNAMENT-2019-20/Ratnakar-North-Point-School-(CABU15)-vs-NAVA-NALANDA-HIGH-SCHOOL-(CABU15)
We now have the first version of Ball to Ball streaming, where each ball in the match has a separate video which gets attached to that specific ball on the scorecard, for example, one just wants to see how Batsman A got dismissed in this match you can now watch it with just one
click Reference (Click on video icon after opening the link below)
https://cricheroes.in/scorecard/249049/APX-vs-HLCAA/HLCAA-vs-APX#Commentary
This was recorded on the first version and we have since added some improvements that give you more control like zooming in and out of the video, slow-motion replays, score overlays on the bottom of the video and more. This way you can do video analysis from CricHeroes as well directly from the mobile set-up. You don’t need a professional camera set-up which makes your work and budget affordable.

TMS: Many people are of the opinion that data analytics is for people who are great at mathematics. What is your opinion?


Shah: Different people will have different views on similar topics. I would say if you have a passion for your work and you love what you are doing, then nothing else matters. In most data analyst roles, you would already have software which will do the math for them. I believe they don’t need to be great at mathematics because the software is going to do that part for them. What they do need to have is a clear understanding of what they are analysing, why they are doing it and how it is going to help the coach/team/player. You need to be able to interpret and draw inferences from the data.

CricInsights is designed in such a way, where you just need a passion and love for your work to get your job done easily as a Data Analyst.

TMS: Having played cricket at a decent level how were you able to manage your time between the sport and your personal development?

Shah: In my Cricket Journey, few key important personal development skills like building confidence, leadership, self-discipline, self-understanding, hard work, positive attitude and mindset, etc developed naturally. As you know, the game teaches you many things.
Cricket, being a team game helps you develop team leadership skills as well. For me, sport (Cricket) naturally helped me to develop most of my personal skills.
I was also good with studies so that I completed my bachelors with distinctions.
Lastly, I am also fond of reading on Books on management, leadership, business development, etc which are helping me in my professional journey.


TMS: What distinguishes CricHeroes with other related Applications?


Shah: CricHeroes is very different from other related Applications.
1) CricHeroes has a network effect which no other platform has. This helps us to grow very fast.
It allows you to get recognized, share your achievements, follow your teams and teammates, follow latest Cricket news, participate in a poll & quiz, get Cricket tips and more from one platform.
2) Most importantly, our scoring system is very easy to understand, very accurate and covers all the latest ICC scoring rules.
3) Our support team, which works very actively whenever a user needs support from us and that’s what users, organisations and associations love about us.
4) CricHeroes is trusted by many associations globally, who are affiliated to ICC, BCCI as well as private clubs and federations, which adds a lot of authenticity to the platform.
5) CricInsights, no other related applications have such data analysis inbuilt software.
6) Live Stream and video analysis from CricHeroes with mobile set-up have made those features available at an affordable cost. In other applications, one needs a separate professional camera set-up to live stream a match which is very expensive.
7) Our active development process, almost every 3 weeks we come up with new features and improvements for our users (some of the features we developed which are suggested by usersas well) which keeps them engaged.

8) CricHeroes is also trusted by many brands to promote their services and offers on the platform and grow their business with us which is where we are very unique.
9) CricHeroes also offers a market for small businesses and brands where they can post Ads of their services and products to get more businesses.
10) We have also developed 2 other applications under CricHeroes, The academy application – A Simple yet powerful application to manage your academy and the booking manager
application to manage your facility bookings effortlessly.
11) Lastly, CricHeroes Ecosystem, where we have thousands of registered Sports shops,
Academies, Grounds, Scorers, Umpires, Commentators, Bat manufactures, Ball manufactures, Trophy manufacturers, T-Shirt manufacturers, Tournament organisers and more and our users
can contact them with one click to seek their services/products.


TMS: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you and CricHeros now that cricketing activities have been on hold for months?


Shah: Covid-19 has definitely affected most of the industries globally and sports is one of them.
For me, the pandemic allowed me to spend more time with my family because we all started working from home. In addition, because I had some spare time from my routine activities, I utilised time in learning new things which is going to help me in my personal growth as well as in my business.
For CricHeroes, we were growing very fast before this pandemic happened and suddenly, everything stopped within a week. We cleverly handled this situation by starting focusing more on B2B partnerships which worked really well for us, we also started cleaning up the system (we do it on daily basis but still there was some lag) where we reviewed all the matches of the platform, removed matches which were just scored for testing, merge players profiles, teams, grounds, etc to remove all the duplicate entries.
We also started a training session with our Association partners where we trained their scorers on scoring, coaches and analysts for data analysis and admin team members on admin training.
This worked as a relationship-building and education part for associations. Lastly, we also successfully make partnerships with some associations in this pandemic.


TMS: What suggestion would you recommend on how to reopen cricket facilities?


Shah: I believe ICC has done a fantastic job by posting articles on how to reopen the Cricket and I also found them valuable. I will suggest keeping ICC guidelines in mind whenever one reopen the Cricket facilities.


TMS: Do you think it is safe to engage in this beautiful sport just yet?


Shah: With ICC guidelines, it looks safe to engage with Cricket. We are also witnessing an International series just get started (England vs West Indies)
Still, every country has a different situation and one should also keep government rules in mind before restarting Cricket.


TMS: What has been your biggest challenge in getting people to engage in digital scoring using your app?


Shah: Earlier, when we just launched CricHeroes in India, we noticed that young scorers, who have more grip with smartphones and technologies, started adopting digital scoring and they found the App valuable as well. Older scorers were not very comfortable with digital scoring
because they had doubts about what if the phone gets switched off, what is the accuracy of the scoring system, or sometimes, we don’t have smartphones, we don’t know how to use the App and more.
However, when players started for CricHeroes from tournament organizers who hire scorers, things started becoming in our favour. In the meantime, we also added value for organizers which helps them to manage tournaments, like automatic points table, automatic player ranking and man of the match facilities, etc. It has helped us to grow via reference channels. People started referring CricHeroes to others and we were getting organic growth.
We also started doing partnerships with Cricket Associations which helped us to build the authenticity of the platform.


TMS: Which countries in Africa and beyond are already using the Dedicated App and how are they deploying it?


Shah: CricHeroes is partnered with 75+ associations globally. In the Africa Zone, Seychelles Cricket Association, Eswatini Cricket Board, Rwanda Cricket Association are using personalized dedicated Apps powered by Cricheroes with their own branding. We are in discussion with other
countries in Africa who are already using CricHeroes but are looking to build their own mobile App.
Most of the Associations use it for scoring their official leagues, managing players data, team data and tournament data at one place. In addition, they use it for live streaming their official leagues from CricHeroes App, use CricInsights for Player’s Analysis and Player Rankings to shortlist and select their squads as well.


TMS: Thanks a lot, Mr Meet Shah. It has been fantastic speaking to you and learning about CricHeroes.


Dear readers, if you need more information about CricHeroes, please feel free to contact Meet via email meet@cricheroes.in He is always happy to help

Download CricHeroes App


From

TheMiddleStump Team

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